Many authors are choosing to self-publish their book because opening the door of a traditional publisher is not easy. Before the traditional publisher opens their door, an author wishing to publish their book through a traditional publisher must first find an agent to represent them. This can be an arduous process because agents receive manuscripts daily, so authors must catch their eye. The chances an unknown author will be published by a traditional publisher are slim at best, and years can pass by with no success. The author who chooses to self-publish their book retains full control over the publishing process, however, they must also market themselves and their book, should they wish to sell it. Marketing tips for self-published authors are addressed below:
Tip 1 – Build a dynamic author platform
Authors wishing to be seen as professional writers ensure they have an author website. There are many benefits to this; the primary benefit being the platform becomes the author’s hub where they can promote themselves (branding), and their book (product). It is true the author needs to familiarise themselves with Google Analytics and SEO if they wish to understand user engagement, and spending the money to have a professional web developer/designer build their website is money well spent. Web developers have an understanding of how to use SEO for best results when it comes to Google ranking the site. More people use their mobile phones today than ever before to visit websites, so it is paramount that the website be responsive and allow for the mobile user. In choosing to build an author website, the author has full control over the presentation and content of the site. They can inform the designer of what they like or don’t like, what pages they want on the site, and what images they wish to use. Publishing a book, and having it placed on online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble is but the first step in a process that will involve the author’s time, money, and perseverance.
Tip 2 – Blog
Blogging is important because Google uses keywords to rank a site. Keywords can be used in blogs, in fact, need to be used in blogs. Spending time researching keywords matters, and the author needs to make a list of keywords they can use when blogging. It is best to post blogs regularly, and it is important that the content be engaging. Quality and consistency are key to building an audience. Writing a book is but the very first step for the author. The next step is to build an author platform and then spend time blogging. For a small monthly outlay, an author can use Skillshare, which has thousands of courses ranging from creative writing to marketing, from writing engaging content to business management, and so on.
Tip 3 – Use Social media
Authors must become visible on social media, and having links to social media on their website allows for this. This, of course, involves more time, because it takes time to build a following on twitter and Facebook. Research is involved to find a target audience. There is no real point following someone on twitter who is not interested in the genre the author writes in. The nature of Facebook has changed, and to get the reach desired, it is best to boost posts on Facebook. More money is involved here, so, if an author is going to spend money on marketing, they need to be reasonably certain they are reaching the right audience.
Tip 4 – Establish a mailing list
A mailing list is perhaps one of the best assets an author can have in their bag of goodies because if someone subscribes to the author’s mailing list, it is because they want to, and because they are interested in the author’s book(s), and what the author has to say. Many authors don’t bother with mailing lists to their detriment. Using a mailing list allows the author to deliver content directly to a reader’s inbox.
Taking advantage of digital services can only be of benefit to the author. An author will not be successful if they believe all they need do is publish their book, and have it listed on an online bookstore. There is far more to success than this. Even authors who have been published by a traditional publisher must spend time and effort marketing themselves and their book because the bulk of a traditional publisher’s marketing budget is devoted to their bestselling authors. A traditional publisher will allocate a specific amount of money to an author they have decided to publish, however, if the book doesn’t sell, they won’t continue to allocate money to marketing the book, and this leaves the author in limbo. To be successful, authors need to be proactive, and willing to devote time, effort, and some dollars to marketing their book.